This question comes from Cassandra in Northfolk, Virginia and she writes: “I finished my degree in paralegal studies in August 2013 and I’m currently interning at two private practices. I wish to continue with my education and obtain a Bachelors Degree, however I’m currently looking for employment. Do you have any advice as to how I can get my foot in the door so that I may build on my experience?
*Note: There’s like a 2 min. delay, I apologize
Well, first off, let me start off by saying congrats on getting your internship at two practices and congrats on finishing your degree in August. Good job, Cassandra. Okay, so here are five strategies to turn your internship into a job.
- Make sure you intern at a company where you would like to work. And one way that you can decide is you could think about the products or services. Maybe you’ve heard a lot about this company or organization and you really would like to work there. Maybe from friends and family that you know that worked there previously. Another way, which is quick and easy, is remember that big yellow book? Yeah, the Yellow Pages. Yes, you can do it online too. It’s already broken down in categories for you. It can’t get any easier than that. Your major is Paralegal Studies. Go to Yellow Pages online, type Law Firm and a city or state near you, and guess what? Boom, there it goes. It pops up a whole bunch of law firms where you can intern.
- Establish your goals during week one. Schedule a meeting with the manager. During the meeting, you want to discuss the specific skills you’d like to obtain and projects that interest you. Go to LinkUp. I love LinkUp. You all know that. If you listen to me, I talk about LinkUp a lot. It’s one of my favorite job boards. Type in the keyword box the position you would like to have for example, Paralegal. Leave the city and the state blank because, at this time, it’s not necessary to have the city and the state. Pick a job that interests you and read the job description. Now, what you want to do is pay close attention to the requirements listed, because you will need to find your specific skill set that is needed for that position. This is what you’re going to want to discuss during your meeting with your manager your first week.
- Work hard. You need to work hard when you get this internship. Come to work early and stay late. Have a positive attitude and eager to learn. When someone gives you an assignment, have a will-do attitude. If there’s a deadline to finish, I totally recommend that you make sure that you do that assignment. Complete that assignment before the due date, that’s impressive. That’s what you want to do leave your mark and take the initiative. Be creative and share your ideas. Make sure your ideas save the company money, time, make them more money or get them more clients. That’s important to the company and the bottom line, it’s all about the money.
- Be a student. Yes, I know it’s an internship, but always carry a notebook, pen, take notes, and always be ready to learn. If or should I say when an employee or customer pays you a compliment, make sure you write that down. If it was sent to you by email, keep that; or if they sent you a thank you card, make sure you keep these things, because this is great to add to your resume. Keep track of all your accomplishments and your contributions. That’s important as well. And make sure you write down names, numbers, email address, and keep in touch with your colleagues, especially the manager after your internship ends. You want to keep in touch with them at least once a month. Most importantly, make sure you send a thank you card to everyone that you worked with, a few days after your internship ends. You just want to keep those lines of communication open and make sure they remember you. Make sure that they know that you appreciate the internship.
- Network, network, and network some more. Interact with vendors, customers, distributors, and suppliers. Customer service is everything. Everyone is a customer, so be a team player and ask how you can be of service.
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